John Penn (1741-1788), one of the original signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence, moved to Granville County in 1774 and joined William Hooper and Joseph Hewes in Philadelphia for the convening of the Continental Congress in 1776. Later, Penn signed the Articles of Confederation for North Carolina. Penn retired to Granville County and died at a relatively young age of 48 years in 1788.
Granville County is bordered on the north by the Virginia State line, on the west by Person and Durham Counties, on the south by Durham and Wake Counties, and on the east by Vance and Franklin Counties. The topography varies from gently rolling in the southern portion to rolling in the northern portion. The county encompasses an approximate area of 532 square miles with a population of 60,992 as of the 2020 Census. Oxford, the county seat, is 40 miles northwest of Raleigh, the state capital, on a section of Interstate 85 that opened in January 1972.
Granville County includes the five municipalities of Oxford, Butner, Creedmoor, Stovall, and Stem. The town of Butner, situated in the southwestern portion, is the County’s newest municipality after being governed by the state until its incorporation in November 2007.
In 1984, the County adopted a Council-Manager form of government. The governing body is a seven-member Board of Commissioners elected by individual voting districts with staggered four-year terms. The Board of Commissioners holds policy-making and legislative authority and is responsible for adopting the budget and appointing the County Manager. The Manager is responsible for implementing the Board’s policies, managing daily operations, and appointing department heads.
The County provides a wide range of services to its citizens including public safety, sanitation, health and social services, cultural and recreational activities, and general administration. In addition, Granville County extends financial support to certain boards, agencies, and commissions to assist with their efforts in serving citizens. Among those are the Granville County Board of Education, Granville-Vance District Health Department, Vance-Granville Community College, and the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments.